Past Winners » Heathfield


I am backing Heathfield here. He is favourite, but he is value at 6/1 in my book. He is just a seriously progressive young staying chaser who should relish this extreme test. Just an ordinary handicap chaser last term, Tony Martin’s horse has improved dramatically this season.

A winner at Uttoxeter in November on heavy ground off a mark of 102, he ran really well in a handicap hurdle at Bangor in January before coming back to Leopardstown and only just getting beaten by the well-handicapped Bishops Road over two miles and five furlongs, a distance that should have been too sharp for him.

Stepped back up to three miles at Navan in March, he appreciated the distance, the stiff track and the heavy ground, and he stayed on well to get the better of Forever Gold and Katnap. That was the first time that Paul Townend rode him, and he rides him again today, which is obviously another positive.

The handicapper raised him 10lb for that win, but that is not overly harsh. Forever Gold re-opposes today on better terms, but he was raised 4lb himself, and he races from 4lb out of the handicap today, so Heathfield meets him on just 2lb worse terms, admittedly without taking Luke Dempsey’s claim into account. Forever Gold is a player, but Heathfield should appreciate the step up in trip more, and he should have his measure again.

Of the others, Urano and Audacious Plan will be players if they get this extreme trip, but that is a fairly significant if.